Sat, May 11, 2013 • Westchester Airport
Dan Offner's article County Airport to Update its Master Plan appeared in The Harrison Review this summer. Here is an excerpt:
"One of several key issues taken into consideration by the county and their consultants will be noise abatement, which has been the concern of many living in the Purchase area who have complaints of planes flying overhead. In addition to the noise, the county public works department has taken environmental concerns into consideration. In the past, the Purchase Environmental Protective Association—a nonprofit organization that works to protect and preserve the environment in Purchase—has worked with the county by participating in airport advisory meetings and supporting efforts to introduce environmental personnel and standards to guide airport operations."
"PEPA's position on the airport has been to oppose further expansion and thus, limit the airport's increased environmental impacts on drinking water quality, airport noise, and air pollution," said PEPA Executive Director Anne Gold. "We will continue to monitor any proposed projects—including a master plan update—to ensure they will not represent any expansion of the airport." Please click here to read the entire article.
Recently PEPA had the opportunity to speak with Robert Funicello, Environmental Project Director for Westchester County and Project Manager for the Airport's Master Plan Update. He provided the following explanation for the reasons and scope of the County's current plan of action:
"Essentially the reason a master plan process was begun last year, with consultant procurement, is that 25 years had passed since the 1987 "Master Plan Update" was completed and the FAA recommends that a master plan be done every 10 years, almost all of the improvements identified in that plan that are likely to be done have been completed, the aviation industry and the use of the Airport and its management system have changed significantly since the last master plan effort, and the FAA has adopted a GIS based system for "Airport Layout Plans" and HPN needs to transition to such a system.
There is also one significant facility issue that will be considered as part of the Master Plan: the future of Runway 11/29; the 'short' runway. This runway is impacted by trees projecting into the runway protection zone as well as by new runway safety zone requirements that will required additional space at the end of runway 29 (290 degrees on the compass, or the northeastern end of the runway). A feasibility study just being completed indicates that, if the 'avigation easements' cannot be acquired by the County from willing property owners, including those in Connecticut, another alternative would be to realign the runway by shifting it towards to a more northerly alignment.
The goal of the Master Plan is to maintain a high level of safe and efficient, and environmentally responsible, service for airport users over the next 20 years. We contemplate a second public meeting before the Master Plan is finalized. At that meeting the results of data collection and forecasts of future use would be presented and alternative facility improvements described. Of course even after the Master Plan is finalized, it will not be an official plan for the County Airport until it is approved by County leaders and accepted by the FAA. Both of those actions would be subject to environmental review (SEQR and NEPA). If the past practice is any guide, there will be public hearings held by the County as part of the SEQR review." (Funicello) View the "Boards" used at the July 17 Master Plan public meeting.